Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is about to launch a new era in the franchise as the first Star Wars anthology movie to hit the big screen. Though it will bring back some familiar faces among the characters, Rogue One will also introduce a whole new set of characters from both the Rebel and Imperial sides. It makes sense that a new direction for Star Wars would also incorporate some new-age marketing tactics.
The movie has seen the usual media blitz that leads up to such a hotly anticipated premiere. There has been a slew of trailers and posters, and many new TV spots have slowly peeled back the mostly unknown layers of this new entry into the Star Wars saga. But until now, Rogue One hasn’t made substantial use of new and emerging technology to make the most of its marketing campaign.
A new video released for the movie (watch it above) breaks through those technological barriers in a major way. Verizon and ILMxLAB have teamed up to create Rogue One: Recon, an immersive 360 video experience that puts you in the seat of an X-wing pilot as it discovers the Death Star and faces an unexpected battle with a fleet of TIE Fighters. The video debuted on Verizon’s Facebook page on Monday.
Though the video can be viewed through Facebook and through YouTube on your computer or phone screen, it works best as a VR experience that’s available exclusively on Samsung Gear VR headsets. The video gives you a first-person view of an X-wing pilot, who suddenly finds himself in a dogfight with TIE Fighters, and before that sees the Death Star for the first time, which a fellow pilot declares “too big to be a space station.”
To create the 360 VR video, Verizon worked with ILMxLAB, a company described on its website as “the new laboratory for immersive entertainment.” It combines talent from LucasFilm, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound with the purpose of “reinventing the way stories are told and experienced.” ILMxLAB previously created a VR experience to promote Star Wars: The Force Awakens and is currently working with The Revenant director Alejandro G. Iñárritu on a VR short.
This is undoubtedly an innovative way to promote an upcoming movie and a hugely creative use of emerging VR technology. It also appears to give a hint at how the rebels will first discover the Death Star early on in Rogue One and the formidable battle ahead of them with the Empire. Hopefully, the content of the movie itself turns out to be as good as the marketing content.